Your MSP business has to acquire, install, troubleshoot, and maintain hardware. But just because a piece of equipment still works doesn’t mean it will continue to do so, or that it’s providing a competitive advantage. Technology develops continuously, meaning what was new only a few years ago quickly gets overruled by new developments.
Notable Areas of Hardware to Manage
Managing hardware is fairly straightforward, but things can get complicated, and it’s costly to devote personnel or time resources to hardware maintenance that isn’t necessary. With that in mind, there are four primary points of oversight you should factor in:
1. Plan for Hardware Diminishment Over Time
The best hardware becomes antiquated in time. Unlike heavy machinery or vehicles, you’re unlikely to get 10 years out of any sort of computational hardware. True, there are always outliers. Some machines have been in continuous operation for many decades.
They are the exception rather than the rule. Understand what sort of lifespan can be expected from servers, end-user devices, or IoT. Plan for that hardware falling out of usefulness in a proscribed amount of time. Generally, this tends to be between one and five years, depending on the hardware.
2. Deployment Requires Careful Strategy
Your MSP business will have to spend time and money deploying hardware for many customers. There’s transport, connectivity, configuration, troubleshooting, logging, and qualified personnel completing these activities to consider. You’ll want to plan for this in advance.
3. Effective Hardware Disposal
When hardware is at the end of its lifecycle, it’s got to be either recycled or done away with. As an MSP, you need to have means of squeezing all value from hardware, and assuring that customers using it are able to do the same.
4. Management During Usage
While customers are using the hardware you’ve put together, there are going to be occasional issues. It’s important that you be available to respond to those issues. Sometimes you’ll have to replace something physical, sometimes there will be software issues.
Sometimes hardware won’t work well with different types of hardware, and it’s necessary for you as an MSP to justify these discordant machines for the sake of the client using an emulator for software, or something of the kind. There can be all manner of different issues which impact how well hardware works. You need to plan for this.
Hardware Management Is Needed for Customers and MSPs
It’s not just that your MSP business needs to carefully manage the hardware of customers for their sake. For your own sake, it’s integral to very carefully manage hardware. Doing so will involve planning for natural hardware obsolescence over time, strategically deploying hardware, disposing of it when the time is right, and effectively managing it throughout the process. Getting the balance right makes everything more streamlined for both parties, and ultimately maximizes resource potential.